SECURITY DEPOSIT TIME LIMIT

 

Your old tenant is moving out and you have a new one coming in.  Let’s say the old tenant left in a hurry, so you and staff have to now move out the trash and leftover belongings, steam the carpet, repaint the walls, do minor repair work.  There’s a huge chunk of change from the security deposit that you want to use to cover expenses.  You think to yourself you have 30 days to notify the previous tenant of your plans to use the funds to cover rehabilitation expenses.  That’s well within your rights.

What if you only use part of the deposit for repairs and/or rehabilitation?  Still think you have the full 30 days to deliver the remaining balance of the previous tenant’s deposit?  Not so, says Florida Law.  You have fifteen days to return the rest of the deposit to the previous tenant if you are not making any claim. That means, if you don’t have to do any cleaning, repairs or rehabilitation that requires you to take some/part/all of the previous tenant’s deposit, you have fifteen days to return/refund the full amount. If not, then you are opening yourself and the corporation to a lawsuit (and potential add-on fees that would double or triple what you would have to pay). So, be sure to ask your company’s attorney or the attorney you have on hand to handle your real estate/tenant legal issues.   The last thing you would need is to have to pay thousands of dollars, in addition to returning the previous tenant’s deposit, when you first were notified of the tenant’s intent to vacate the premises.

 

STOP! IN THE NAME OF…

     You’ve filed numerous eviction notices the past few months on residents for numerous reasons.  Late or no pay, noise violations, trash, vandalism, and the list goes on.  One of your slow or late payers suddenly comes into your office with a money order for $2000 to cover the past rent.  You begin thinking of the empty apartments/condos/homes you have on the property, other late payers and begin to reconsider the eviction on this particular resident.  Afterall, two grand will certainly help in these troubled times.

     So, you accept the money order, call your attorney to stop the eviction and all is sunshine, daisies and buttermilk.  Not so fast…have you thought this through?   Your attorney will want to get paid, regardless if you stop the eviction, courts will want to get paid for any time they’ve put in.  Did you as the resident to cover that?  Did you include that in your eviction notice?  If not, guess who pays that.  That’s right, you do. 

     No one wants to evict a resident and if the said resident ponies up that lost money, everyone’s copasetic, right?  The lease may state that the resident is liable for all attorney’s fees and costs, but by accepting the rent and voiding the eviction, a resident can fight you on this, especially if she did not realize that you would be trying to take the money owed from the security deposit when she vacated.